A small workshop in rural western Kentucky is where to find artist Justin Roberts. He collects ditch willow on backroads and in low-lying wetlands. The willow is sustainable and when he spots his medium, he always asks permission to cut. He offers a chair in favor of the rights to forage.
After each piece is cut with a machete, he hauls the willow back to a studio that belongs to 87-year-old George Beard, who is considered a master at this traditional craft. Beard has passed down the art of willow bending to his young apprentice, Roberts. Roberts, his wife and his daughter reside in a small cottage with a red tin roof. Life is simple.
After almost three years of learning the art of bending, Roberts’ art has become a lifestyle. He shares his story, skills and simple approach with whomever is eager to listen.
When you purchase a work from Walk the Willow, it will last a lifetime with proper care. This style of furniture is a treasure from a simple past, when attention to detail and longevity were of high value. In Roberts’ work, you will be able to see and feel the intention behind every piece, staying true to the tradition and rich history of the past.